NBC, you blew it. You are my favorite network, even if Fox is more of my political persuasion, news-wise. I am a huge Bob Costas and Al Michaels fan. Further, I thought the other announcers did their jobs fine.
Up front, my biggest problem walking in is that I am recovering from very recent surgery, and by the time 8:00 PM comes along, I’m toast (In fact, I am still on some pretty solid painkillers, so this blog post may be slightly ill-advised). So, anything after that, and I may not have even seen it. I watched during the day when I could, and usually up to bedtime. And all day Saturday, and Sunday. So there are the qualifiers, all out in the open and up front.
So, here’s how you blew it. Bouncy-balls and hula hoops? In the Olympics? Come on! Those women worked hard, and the movement and coordination is beautiful. But it’s NOT a sport in any way, shape, or form. So the Olympic committee erred and let it stay. You do not have to show it. Maybe put it on at midnight, if someone wants to watch. Sand volleyball? I almost have to give you that one, as I understand that those were the hottest tickets in the Olympics. However, I suspect it was due to the women that were playing in it, not the sport itself. And sand volleyball is merely a sport played by people who say, “Dude!” to make them feel like they are almost real athletes. Dump the sand volleyball. Handball? I was jazzed when I heard that one, as I used to play handball. Tough sport, and one where old guys compete better than young guys. But what is in the Olympics is NOT handball. It’s guys carrying a bouncy basketball and throwing it around. Stupid. Ditch the handball.
I will list the sports that cause me to look forward to the Summer Games (not in any particular order): Wrestling, Swimming, Diving, Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Boxing. Throw in Fencing, Bicycling (off-road and road), Pentathlon, Archery, Judo/Taekwando, Equestrian, Triathalon, Water Polo and Shooting, and you have a real event! I don’t even mind the Soccer.
But what NBC decided to air was, to put it bluntly, boring. I was bored out of my skull with this year’s coverage. Look, I know that sports has become spectacle and entertainment, but can’t you keep a bit of the purity? Ryan Seacrest and McEnroe (for other than tennis), and you clearly have gone in a non-sports direction. Now, let me say this. I think Seacrest is great. He is charming and witty, engages his interviews well, and is entirely pleasant. But he is not the first person one thinks of when one thinks of sports. He was clearly chosen for the entertainment factor.
Now, another disclaimer. I am old-fashioned enough that I pine for the amateur Olympics, even though I know there were loopholes then, as well as countries that paid their athletes a good salary. But I believe we have lost the intent of the Olympics when we have professionals play. And by “professional” I mean anyone that makes a living doing the event for which one is going to the Olympics to compete. That includes Basketball. The 1992 Dream Team was great to watch, just because each and every player was one of the best ever, anywhere. But they should not have been playing at the Olympics. That would be like me competing with a seven-year old in a shooting competition. For the most part, I can confidently say that I would win. But would that be fair? So anyhow, I just do not like watching professionals. When they come on the tube (Volleyball, sand pretend volleyball, Basketball, whatever), I generally turn the channel.
So when did the good stuff air? I saw very little of the things I like, mostly the boring stuff. Ribbons, sand, bouncy-balls. Boring.
In my opinion, it would have been better to show re-runs of the good stuff so more people could see them. Even knowing the outcome, I would have watched Gabby Douglas and the team compete. But no. More hula-hoops. How about Decathlon? All NBC did was kind of mention it as an, “Oh, yeah,” kind of thing.
I understand that figuring out what to put on air is a no-win situation. Even if you did everything exactly as I would personally wish, someone, somewhere would probably complain. I’m not sure why, since I have the finest mind in the cosmos, but it is possible. Maybe from the ribbon people. Yeah, that’s probably it.
I also understand that the time difference was a difficulty, but that’s just something one has to deal with when the events are scheduled on the other side of the world, and we need to just suck it up with stuff like that. But really, a lot of people actually work for a living, and can’t stay up late to watch the cool stuff.
So. Put me on record for saying that although I understand how difficult the scheduling would be, this Olympics was a complete waste for me. And I regret that. I look forward to the Olympics, especially the Summer Games, but this time? Dullsville. Rats. I was really looking forward to it, too.